As a result, there is an ongoing need to continually replace vital services throughout the country so the Ukrainian people can stay warm, cook their food, and have a source of ongoing light when the national power grid system is down.

The Candles for Ukraine project actually began in Ukraine in 2014, during the war with Russia over the region of Crimea. The Ukrainian military first started making candles for use in the field out of reusable materials such as tin cans, cardboard and the wax from used candles to dry their socks, warm their hands, heat a cup of water for tea, cook some food, and provide a bit of light. When Ukraine was invaded in late February of 2022, the military once again began making candles that burn for approximately four or five hours. This is long enough to provide light for a room, heat a cup of tea, prepare food, or warm someone's hands. When a larger lit candle container is added to a clay pot, it adds even more heat for a room. The candles can even withstand relatively strong winds without blowing out, and give off little if any harmful carbon emissions. Organised groups in Ukraine such as the Scouts--a worldwide organization--are very active in making candles and distributing the candles throughout Ukraine.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client; Photo of Roman Grymalyuk and Lagos School District Teacher

The Portuguese & Expat Communities involvement

In Portugal, there has been a huge effort to connect the Portuguese National Scout Organisation with that of Ukraine in order to launch a similar nationwide effort to make and collect candles for Ukraine. Both the Scouts in Monchique and Olhão in the Algarve have been actively involved in making candles for Ukraine. Additionally, the entire school district in Lagos is involved in the project, even painting the outsides of the containers with designs and loving messages of hope for Ukrainian civilians and military who will receive them. Roman Grymaluk, a Ukrainian volunteer who is organising the Candles for Ukraine project, said he was nearly moved to tears when a five-year-old Portuguese boy in the Lagos School district handed him a candle he'd made saying, "This candle is for those brave people who are fighting for their freedom". Grymalyuk mentioned that the "mental warmth" and emotional gift that Ukrainians receive from a candle made by foreigners who care is often more important than how the candle is actually being used.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client;

In addition to the Lagos School district, and Scouting groups in Portugal including Monchique, other community and social groups, families and individuals have also contributed to Candles for Ukraine. The Câmara of Lagos has posted on their social sites asking for the community's involvement, and Bombeiros of Lagos and Monchique has offered to be drop-off locations for the candles.

The goal for the remainder of this year, per project organizers, is to have school districts, Scout troops and Bombeiros throughout Portugal participate in the Candles for Ukraine project.

Finally, TAP Air Portugal in Lisbon is flying pallets of the candles made in Portugal nearly free of charge as "carga voluntária" to Poland for delivery to the military on the front lines, and to people throughout Ukraine.

Credits: Supplied Image; Author: Client; Scouts of Olhão with ORANTA instructor, Oleksandra Grab Tynkalyuk, showing how to make the candles

Support “Candles for Ukraine”

The need is great for even more candles and community involvement say officials from ORANTA. You can support this initiative in various ways, firstly, by spreading the word on websites and social groups by sharing posts about the Candles for Ukraine and Ambulances for Ukraine projects. Secondly, by making candles or donating old candles or other materials such as paraffin, cardboard, and tin cans, acting as a drop-off location for the candles or by volunteering to help ORANTA organise this and other projects.

For more information, please visit or alternatively email or call +351 935 688 807. There is also plenty of information on their Facebook page, please see search ‘Oranta Portugal’.